5 November 2018

Diwali Legiyam

So for us, Diwali is on Narak Chaturdashi (tomorrow) , typically on Choti Diwali. This is practised in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa, as far as I know.
We get up before Sunrise, have an oil bath (specially prepared oil - pic coming up) and the first thing given to everyone is the Diwali medicine. It preps the stomach for the festive food ahead.
Here is the Diwali Legiyam/Marunthu (medicine) pic and recipe..
DIWALI MARUNTHU/LEGIYAM
Ingredients:
(Makes legiyam about a small coconut size)
Black peppercorns - 2 tsps
Cumin seeds(jeera) - 2.5 tsps
Coriander seeds (dhaniya) - 2.5 tsps
Carrom seeds (Ajwain) - 1.5 tbsps
Kanda Thippili (pippali - dried root of long pepper plant) - 10 x 1inch sticks
Rice Thippili (dried long pepper) - 5 to 6
Dry ginger powder (saunth) - 1 tbsp
Green Cardamom (elaichi) - 2
Clarified butter (Ghee) - 4 tbsps
Jaggery - 2 cups (roughly powdered)

(Long peppers are available on Amazon. Search for Pippali Mool or long pepper root and Pippali or long pepper)
Method:
1. Dry grind ajwain to a fine powder. Add other dry spices and grind them too.
2. Transfer to a bowl, add water just upto the level of the powder and let soak for 10-15 minutes.
3. Re-grind this soaked mix with the same water to a fine paste.
4. Heat a thick-bottomed pan and add the ground paste to it. Stir on low flame till it starts to thicken.
5. Add jaggery at this point and stir till it ia dissolved.
6. Now start adding ghee a little at a time till the mixture leaves the sidea of the pan and comes together like halwa.
Switch off flame and let cool. Store in a clean, air-tight container.

30 September 2018

Jain Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer is a world-favourite recipe. Who can resist the sight, aroma and flavour of this delicious curry dish with soft and succulent paneer chunks floating in a spinach gravy?
Though the recipe typically uses onion and garlic. But for those who want to enjoy this during vrat season, this recipe can help.
NO ONION-GARLIC PALAK PANEER
Ingredients:
Spinach/Palak - 2 small bunches
Tomatoes, medium - 4, blanched
Green chilies, medium - 3 to 4
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tbsps
Jeera - 1 tsp
Haldi - 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp

Method:
1. Add chopped and washed spinach to a pressure cooker along with green chilies and salt and cook for just 1 whistle. Remove, cool and grind to a paste. I like to keep the paste little chunky rather than too fine.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add jeera. Let crackle.
3. Add blanched and chopped tomatoes (or pureee) along with haldi and let cook a bit.
4. Now add chili powder (careful here as we have already used green chilies) and dhaniya powder. Cook till tomatoes/puree is cooked.
5. Finally add garam masala and let simmer for few minutes more.
6. Now add the spinach puree and mix well. Check for salt. Do not cook for too long after adding spinach.
Remove and serve hot with chapati or rice.

Puyliyogare mix

Puli kaaychal meaning tamarind cooked to a paste is a popular condiment made in most South Indian households. Puliyogare rice is a very popular preparation especially in Lord Vishnu temples. Here's the recipe for the paste as how my mom makes it.
PULI KAAYCHAL / PULIYOGARE MIX
Ingredients:
Tamarind - Big lemon size(we need about 4 cups of tamarind extract)

For Spice pwd:
Coriander (Dhaniya) seeds - 3 tsps
Fenugreek (Methi) seeds - 1 tsp
Dry red chilies - 3 to 4
Sesame (Til) seeds - 1 tsp
Whole black pepper - 1 tsp

Peanuts - 1/4 cup (roasted)
Curry leaves, a few
Sesame oil - 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Bengal gram (Chana dal) - 2 tsps
Dry red chilies - 3 to 4
Hing pwd - 1 tsp
Haldi - 2 tsps
Salt to taste

Method:
1. Let's prepare the spice powder first. Heat a pan and dry roast sesame till you get its aroma. Transfer to a plate.
2. In the same pan, dry roast fenugreek seeds but take care not to let it brown. Transfer to the plate along with sesame seeds.
3. In the same pan dry roast dhaniya seeds, red chilies and black pepper till aroma comes. remove and let cool along with the sesame and methi seeds. Dry grind to a powder.
4. Heat oil and add mustard seeds, let splutter. Add red chilies and chana dal. Roast a bit.
5. Add in the imli extract along with hing, haldi, curry leaves, peanuts and salt to taste.
6. Simmer the mix on low flame till it leaves the sides of the pan and starts to thicken. Turn off flame and let it cook in the residual flame.
7. Finally add the spice powder as required and mix well. 2-3 tsps should be a good measure for medium spiciness.
Store in a clean dry vessel and use.
This is the Puliyogare rice made with the paste.


17 September 2018

Steamed Spinach Rolls

Looking for a NO-OIL, NO-FRY healthy, cheesy snack? Try this..
STEAMED SPINACH ROLLS

Ingredients:
Large-sized Spinach leaves - 10-12
Potatoes, medium - 2-3 (Boiled & mashed)
Paneer, crumbled - 1 cup
Capsicum or any vegetable(s) of choice - 1 cup
Salt to taste
Red Chili powder - 2 tsps
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Processed/Mozzarella cheese, shredded - 1 cup

Method:
1. Carefully wash the spinach leaves, taking care not to tear them. Spread out and let dry a bit.
2. Meanwhile prepare the stuffing by mixing together all other ingredients. You can add some cheese to the stuffing as well. I preferred to add them as a topping alone.
3. Arrange the spinach leaves as in the picture on a steamer plate and steam for just 30 secs - one minute. We just want the leaves to be tender and manageable.
 4. Place a spoonful of the filling at the top and gently roll the leaf around it. Arrange on the baking tray.

5. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 170-180 Deg C for 5-7 minutes or till cheese melts and turns golden brown.
Serve hot.



15 September 2018

Berry Vanilla Gateau | Academy of Pastry Arts

Contd from .. Here's the recipe for the dessert that was demo-ed by Chef Kimberly at the Academy of Pastry Arts. (Recipe credit : the Academy)
BERRY VANILLA GATEAUX
CHOCOLATE ALMOND SPONGE
Ingredients Quantity (gr) - (recipe for 2 nos 6” cake)
Almond Paste/Marzipan 150
Whole Egg 62.5
Egg Yolk 37.5
Egg White 137.5
Sugar 50
Cake Flour 40
Callebaut Cocoa Powder 20
Dark Chocolate Callebaut Madagascar 67% 75

Method
1. Mix almond paste with paddle. Add in egg and egg yolk slowly until smooth paste.
2. Change to whisk attachment and whip mixture above until fluffy.
3. Make a medium peak meringue with egg white and sugar.
4. Fold in meringue into 2nd
5. Fold in sifted cocoa powder and flour and then continue with melted chocolate.
6. Bake in 6” ring for approximately 25 minutes at 165-degree Celsius.

VANILLA MOUSSE
Ingredients Quantity (gr) - ( recipe for 1.5 nos 6” cake)
Milk 150
Whipping Cream 120
Vanilla Pod ½ stick
Egg Yolk 120
Sugar 90
Gelatine 8
Italian Meringue 120
Cold Water 40
Whipping Cream 135

Method
1. Dissolve gelatine with cold water.
2. Bring cream, milk and vanilla pod to boil.
3. Mix egg yolk and sugar and gradually add into hot mixture.
4. Continue to bain-marie until 83-degree Celsius with a spatula. Add in gelatine; wait until slightly cool down, strain and fold in Italian Meringue.
Lastly, fold in whipped cream.

BERRY JELLY
Ingredients Quantity (gr) (recipe for 1.5 nos 6” cake)
Ravifruit Blackberry Puree 200
Ravifruit Raspberry Puree 100
Ravifruit Strawberry Puree 130
Sugar 15
Gelatine 8
Cold Water 40

Method
1. Dissolve gelatine with cold water.
2. Warm all purees with sugar until sugar is just enough to dissolve.
3. Melt gelatine and mix with puree mixture.
4. Pour into mould and freeze it.

RED (BERRY) GLAZE
Ingredients (Quantity (gms))
Water 75
Sugar 150
Glucose 150
Condense milk 100
Gelatine 12
Milk Chocolate Callebaut 823NV 33.6% - 150
Red colorant +/-

Method:
1. Bring the sugar, water and glucose to boil.
2. Add in the bloomed gelatine and condensed milk.
3. Pour the mixture over the milk chocolate and add in colouring to emulsify.

Finishing - Glaze with raspberry glaze and garnish with chocolate décor.  Also add chopped raisin with gold dust.

Learning the ropes

     For the love of cooking..and baking.. For many a home chef, baking that perfect cake is a dream come true. Some come out well, some fall flat and literally so. And when the latter happens, we either take that as a challenge and keep trying till we get it right or give up and move on. But for the enthusiasts, passionate wannabe bakers, a guiding, helping hand is a must. And that's where the Academy of Pastry Arts comes in.
        I was fortunate to be part of a demo by Chef Kimberly Rozario who patiently took us through a brilliantly executed baking session. The dessert in mention was - Berry Vanilla Gateau.
Sounds simple? But hold your breath, this one had several elements and components to it that needed perfection, technique, patience and of course, the right ingredients.

        But first, a bit about the academy. Academy of Pastry Arts was established in 2010 with their flagship centre in Malaysia. They have grown on to presence in Philippines, Mumbai, Gurugram and Bangalore and soon to be opened centres in Dubai and Indonesia. I visited the Bengaluru centre and was absolutely impressed by the vast space, huge learning labs, state of the art equipment, superb chefs and high-end ingredients.
      Now about the demo..Baking is a science as much as it's an art. One step, ingredient, technique, timing goes wrong and your end result will be anything but perfect. So it becomes inevitable to get the basics right before you set out on your baking journey.
Chef Kimberly explained so many nuances as she went through the different stages of the dessert preparation. For example:

◘ Using the right ingredients, be it the chocolate, cocoa powder, cream, fruit extracts, and so on is extremely important if you want that perfect dessert. No compromises there.

◘ Temperature and Timing are very important. And they are proportional to the baking moulds being used, so no one temperature setting and time works for all. Smaller molds like the typical round cake mold would need a lower temperature so the baking process spreads evenly over the selected time. A larger tray with a thinner layer of batter, on the other hand can work with a higher temperature.

◘ When whisking a glaze, you need to avoid air bubbles so keep the whisk head below the surface but don't let it touch the bottom. When done, if you still spot bubbles on the surface, use a cling wrap to smooth them out.

◘ It's good to invest in sustainable and good quality equipment. One such is the Probe or thermometer which is indispensable when working with delicate desserts.

            And here's the twist, contrary to the name, the academy doesn't just offer baking courses, but culinary as well. And there are both Full time and Part time courses.
       
           So end note, getting the basics right, be it for cooking or baking is crucial. And you need the right place to learn them. Head to the Academy of Pastry Arts to earn your Toque!!
Here's the dessert and for those interested in trying it out, the recipe is at: http://www.akshayamrecipes.com/2018/09/berry-vanilla-gateau-academy-of-pastry.html

Academy details : http://academyofpastryartsindia.com

Bangalore Center
9, 1ST BLOCK SARJAPUR MAIN ROAD,
JAKKASANDRA,
KORAMANGALA,
BANGALORE
+91-8095719222
+91-8095442277
+91-8025505222
info@academyofpastryartsindia.com

Gurgaon Center
Plot No. 64,
Udyog Vihar Phase IV,
National Highway 8,
Gurgaon Haryana,
+91-7838381229
+91-9599108530
+91-1242399006
info@academyofpastryartsindia.com

Mumbai Center
A Wing, Ground & First Floor,
Litolier Chambers,
Adjacent to Marol Metro Station Andheri East,
Mumbai
+91-8095718222
info@academyofpastryartsindia.com

    14 September 2018

    Pidi Kozhukattai

    Ganesh Chaturthi, Sankatahara/Sankeshti Chaturthi Special - Pidi Kozhukattai (modak) , a version of modak famous in most parts esp during Ganesh Chaturthi. It's a non dumpling variation and really simple to make. Can be enjoyed as a snack anytime too...
    PIDI KOZHUKATTAI

    Ingredients(Makes about 40)
    1/2 cup rice flour (idiappam flour if available) 
    1/2 - 3/4 cup jaggery, depending on how sweet the jaggery is (roughly chopped) 
    1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
    1 cup water
    2 tbsps coconut pwd or finely chopped
    1 tsp sesame oil
    Method:
    1. Dissolve jaggery in water in a big pan. Filter to remove impurities if any.
    2. Add the cardamom pwd and coconut and bring to a boil.
    3. Lower the flame and gradually add the rice flour, stirring continuously. Leave no lumps.
    4. Keep stirring till the mixture becomes a thick mass. Remove from flame. Let cool a little.
    5. While still bearably warm, oil your hands lightly and divide into equal portions. Roll or make into muthiya shapes.
    6. Steam cook for 10-12 minutes. Remove and serve.

    30 August 2018

    Foxtail Millet/Thinai Appam

    Kaiththala NiRaikani Appamodu Avalpori...lines from a famous Thirupugazh song. Appam are among Lord Ganesha's favourite along with Modaks...Here's a recipe to try them with millets for a change.
    THINAI / FOXTAIL MILLET APPE (APPAM/PADDU)
    Ingredients:
    Foxtail millet/Thinai (grains) - 1 cup (soaked for 2 hours)
    Rice flour - 1/4 cup
    Wheat flour - 1/4 cup
    Banana - 1, ripe
    Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
    Coconut, grated - 1/4 cup (optional)

    Method:
    1. Grind together all ingredients except coconut using about 1 tbsp water only if needed.
    2. Transfer to a bowl and add grated coconut. Batter should be of dropping consistency. Add water if needed.
    3. Heat an appe pan and add little oil. Drop ladleful batter into the appe cups. Let cook till golden brown on all sides.
    Transfer to absorbent paper to remove excess oil. Serve immediately or store in an air tight jar.
                               

    26 August 2018

    Dill Palak Vada

    Dal vada is a popular snack down south. Many variations exist, in terms of lentils used, as also vegetables. This one uses Dill leaves or Soya leaves (Suva bhaji) that has amazing health benefits and our good old Spinach.
    DILL-PALAK DAL VADA
    Ingredients:
    Chana dal - 1 cup
    Toor dal - 1/4 cup
    Red chilies - 2
    Ginger - 1 inch piece
    Green chili - 1
    Hing - 1/4 tsp
    Salt to taste
    Dill leaves, chopped - 2 tbsps
    Palak leaves, chopped - 2 tbsps
    Coriander leaves, chopped - 1 tbsp

    Method :
    1. Soak both dals together for 1 hour. Drain and keep aside.
    2. To a blender jar, add the red + green chilies and ginger and give it a quick run.
    3. Now add the dals, salt to taste and hing. Blend coarsely with very little water. Just a few quick turns of the mixer knob.
    4. Transfer to a bowl and add the chopped greens. Check for salt.
    5. Heat oil for frying on medium. Wet your palm, take a small portion and flatten it. Drop it into the oil and fry till golden brown. Best trick is to first fry till half done and re-fry till crisp just before serving.

    13 August 2018

    Your Kitchen Robot

    Is this an appliance? A machine? A gadget? Nope, Thermomix is a Kitchen Robot! A one stop assistant that's all you'll need..
    The concept is simple - To simplify cooking and simplify life.
    Thermomix TM5 is a premium product from the house of Vorwerk & Co., a company that was founded in 1883. Vorwerk is well-known for its premium appliances and household products across many countries.
    Thermomix TM5 takes a bit of a learning curve, but once you have mastered it (which is fairly easy to do) you will thank your stars for it.
    I was happy to be part of a demo arranged at their Bangalore office, called (aptly so!) the Pocket Kitchen. The premises is aesthetically designed with an open kitchen space, ample seating and a service center as well.
    The appliance comes with, wait for it, Twelve in-built functions along with a weighing scale. So it takes care of:
    1. Weighing
    2. Timing
    3. Sautéing
    4. Melting
    5. Steaming
    6. Stirring
    7. Emulsifying
    8. Whipping
    9. Chopping
    10. Blending
    11. Grinding, and
    12. Kneading
    Quite a handful isn't it?
    The unit includes a Stainless Steel mixing bowl, a lid that mechanically closes once the function is selected, a simmering basket, the Varoma Steaming basket, butterfly whisk, spatula, measuring cup and the multi-purpose blade.
    The front panel has an intuitive selection option that takes you sensibly and sequentially through the functions that you'll absolutely master after a few trials. The screen also doubles up as your recipe assistant. If you are using the appliance in Chip mode, you can simply read off the recipe steps at the touch of a button and cook as you go.
    On that subject, you have the option to use Thermomix with a recipe chip that comes pre-fed with over 180 recipes and instructions thereof, or a recipe book, or the ever-growing online community on their facebook page.
    I personally found the chip mode fascinating, especially when working with a new recipe and you will truly appreciate that guiding hand.
    The best part about the Thermomix marketing campaign is that each unit is sold as part of a personal connect and after giving the potential customer a proper demo of the appliance, to help them understand that it ain't just another kitchen counter trophy!
    The dishes that were demo-ed to us -
    Pineapple Ice Cream, Pumpkin-potato soup, Risotto, Spaghetti in tomato sauce and Hummus. Just as an example; for the soup - from the chopping of the ginger, sauteing it, cooking the pumpkin, potato, shallots and then blending them - all of this happened in a single jar at a touch of a button at a fraction of the conventional time! How's that for efficiency?


     


    In this day and age when efficiency, both in terms of time and space is valued, Thermomix comes as a culinary boon. Don't take my word for it, go ahead and book a demo today and see for yourself.
    And yes, on a signing off note, you can be a part of the team too, join their recruitment campaign and win big! If you sell 6 machines in 3 months, you get the 7th one free of cost plus your commission.
    Their address in Bangalore: 1st Floor, No. 105/90/1, Survey No. 9/1, Byatarayanapura Villlage, Bellary, Road,, OPP. GKVK Campus, Near Shell Petrol Pump, Yelahanka,, Hobli, Jakkuru Layout, Byatarayanapura, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560092
    [Or just enter Thermomix, Jakkur into your Google Map]
    Websitehttp://thermomix.co.in/
    Buying processhttp://thermomix.co.in/en/how-to-get-it/purchase-process/

    1 August 2018

    Dal Makhani

    So much has been said about this recipe. It's a classic dish that almost everyone opts for from the menu. The true flavours come out if you are generous with the butter (hence "Makhani" i.e, Makhan like, buttery smooth).
    I found many many versions for this dish so it was difficult to pinpoint any one authentic one. Only Shri KL Gujral would know it!! (I skipped the cream as I forgot to get some :( )
    Here's the version I tried. Go ahead and enjoy it with rice or rotis.
    DAL MAKHANI
    Ingredients:
    1 cup Whole Black gram(sabut urad), soaked for 6-8 hrs
    2 tbsps Kidney beans (Rajma), soaked for 6-8 hours
    3-4 medium Tomatoes, chopped or pureed
    2 medium Onions, chopped or ground to a paste
    2 tbsps Clarified Butter (Ghee)
    2 tbsps Ginger-Garlic paste
    Chopped Fresh Coriander
    1 tsp Coriander (Dhaniya) powder
    1/2 tsp Cumin (Jeera) powder
    1 tsp Red chili powder
    1/2 tsp Garam masala(optional)
    Salt to taste
    For Tempering:
    2 tbsps Ghee
    1 tsp Red chilli powder
    Method:
    1. Pressure cook the lentils till well done.
    2. Heat ghee in a pan, add onions and sauté till brown. Add Ginger-Garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes more.
    3. Add tomatoes and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes.
    4. Add salt, chili pwd, dhaniya and jeera powder + few coriander leaves. Stir well and let simmer on low for 5-6 minutes.
    Optionally you can pressure cook again for 2 whistles so the spices mix well together.
    5. For tempering, heat ghee, turn off flame and add the chili powder. Give it a quick stir and add to the cooked dal. Stir and check for seasoning.
    Serve hot garnished with coriander.

    4 July 2018

    Pineapple Halwa

    PINEAPPLE HALWA
    Ingredients:
    ½ cup Rava/Sooji
    ½ cup Ghee / clarified butter
    1 cup Sugar
    ½ cup Pineapple, chopped
    1 ½ cups Water
    10 Cashewnuts, sliced
    ¼ tsp cardamom powder
    Saffron strands, a few or kesar colour (optional)
    Method:
    1. Heat 1 tbsp ghee and roast cashews till golden brown. Remove and keep aside.
    2. Heat ¼ cup ghee in a thick bottomed pan and roast the rava till you get a nice aroma. Remove and keep aside.
    3.  In the same pan, add the water and pineapple bits and let cook till pineapple becomes soft.
    4. Add the rava stirring continuously leaving no lumps. Now add the sugar and mix well till sugar melts and halwa starts to thicken.
    5. Add the remaining ¼ cup ghee, stir. Add in the cardamom powder, cashewnuts, saffron and mix well. Give a final stir till halwa starts to leave sides of the pan.
    Remove and serve hot.

    23 June 2018

    Pudina Pulao

           Weekend lunches are extra special, to be enjoyed with the family. But if you don't want to spend half the morning cooking and still whip up something yummy and interesting, then this Mint leaves pulao is perfect for you. Here's the recipe.. Recipe video on #IGTV - https://www.instagram.com/tv/BkXs-OvDG7a/
    MINT PULAO
    Ingredients:
    Mint leaves - 1 cup
    Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup
    Green chili - 1
    Ginger - 1 inch piece
    Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
    Cloves - 8-10
    Basmati rice, cooked - 1 cup
    Ghee - 1 tbsp
    Bay leaf - 1
    Cooked vegetables (Peas, carrot, potato) - 1 cup
    Salt to taste
    Method:
    1. Grind together mint leaves, dhaniya, green chili and ginger to a fine paste using very little water.
    2. Coarsely grind cinnamon and cloves. You can choose to add them whole as well. I ground them to avoid wastage.
    3. Heat ghee in a large kadhai. Add the bay leaf, ground cinnamon-cloves, mint leaves paste and vegetables along with salt. Mix well and let cook for 3-5 minutes.
    4. Now add rice little by little, mix well. Check for salt and cover cook for just 2 minutes to let the aroma & flavours steep in.
    Serve hot.

    21 June 2018

    Carrot - Cabbage Chutney

    In a quest to look for non-raw food, working with chutneys and raitas is one of the biggest challenges. In that search, I came across this recipe at https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/carrot-chutney-recipe/ for Carrot chutney which suited my purpose.
    I tweaked it a bit and added cabbage for good measure as well.
    CARROT-CABBAGE CHUTNEY
    Ingredients:
    Sesame oil - 1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp
    Urad dal - 1 tsp
    Chana dal - 1 tso
    Carrots, roughly chopped - 1 cup
    Cabbage, roughly chopped - 1/4 cup
    Green chili - 1, medium
    Dry red chili - 1 medium
    Asafoetida (Hing) pwd - 1/4 tsp
    Salt to taste
    Tamarind - 1 pea size
    Coconut, dessicated (readymade one works best than fresh) - 1/4 cup
    For Tempering:
    Sesame oil - 1 tsp
    Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
    Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
    Curry leaves, a few
    Method:
    1. Heat 1/2 tsp oil in a kadhai, add the urad and chana dal, green chili and red chili along with hing. Fry a bit till lentils turn golden brown. Remove and keep aside.
    2. Add another 1/2 tsp oil, now add in the carrots, salt and cover-cook for 7-8 minutes or till carrots are semi-soft.
    3. Now add the cabbage as well and cook for 5 mins more.
    3. Remove, let cool and grind to a paste. Transfer to a bowl.
    4. For tempering, heat 1/2 tsp oil, add mustard seeds and let splutter. Add the urad dal and curry leaves and pour over the chutney.
    Serve as accompaniment with Idli, dosas, or chapatis too.

    Moong Dal Idli

    Idli is one of the traditional Indian breakfasts that is guaranteed to give you that instant energy boost, thanks to its carbs content. While we have many options around for Idlis, using Idli rice, raw rice, Millets, let's try one with Green gram. I have used whole Green gram in this for added goodness.
    The batter needs to ferment, as with any Idli batter. If you are going to make this at nite, then grind the batter in the morning itself. Best for use within a day.
    Serve with this Carrot-Cabbage Chutney
    MOONG DAL (GREEN GRAM) IDLI
    Soaking time: 6-8 hours
    Fermentation time - 6 -8 hours
    Serves - 20 idlis approx
    Ingredients:
    Whole Green gram (Sabut Moong dal) - 1 cup
    Whole Black gram, without husk (Dhuli sabut Urad dal) - ¼ cup
    Green Chili -1, medium
    Ginger - ½ inch piece
    Salt to taste
    Fenugreek (Methi) seeds - ¼ tsp
    Method:
    1. Soak the moong dal overnight. Soak the urad dal along with methi seeds for 2 hours before grinding the batter. 
    2. In a mixer jar, add the moong dal with a little water, green chili and ginger and grind till you get a frothy batter. Remove to a bowl.
    3. Now add the urad dal + methi seeds to the mixer and grind to a smooth and frothy batter, as for idli. Add this to the ground moong dal, add salt to taste, mix well and leave to ferment for 6-8 hours.
    4. Apply oil to idli plates, pour ladle-ful batter into each pocket and steam cook for 15 mins or till done. If you wish to add veggies to this, add it just before making idlis.

    3 June 2018

    Badam Burfi

    Desserts or even simple sweets are even more special when we make them at home. In the beginning some can appear bit overwhelming, but once we try it it turns out to be a lot less complicated.
    Here's a simple Badam Burfi recipe.
    BADAM (ALMOND BURFI)
    Ingredients:
    Whole almonds (soaked and peeled) - 1 cup
    Milk - 1/2 cup
    Sugar - 3/4 cup
    Water - 1/4 cup
    Ghee - 1 tbsp
    Saffron strands - a few, soaked in 2 tbsps warm milk
    Cardamom (Elaichi powder) - 1 tsp
    Method:
    1. Grind the almonds to a fine paste using milk. You can grind them coarse too if you prefer the burfis to have a bite to them.

    2. Add sugar and water to a thick bottom pan and keep stirring on low-medium flame. We need a one string consistency.

    3. Once it reaches the desired consistency, add the badam/almond paste and stir well. Once it thickens a little, add the ghee and keep stirring on low flame.

    4. Now add the elaichi powder and continue stirring till mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan completely.

    5. Transfer to a greased plate or baking tray. Let cool slightly. Cut the mixture into desired shapes and let cool completely. Transfer to a clean jar and consume within a week.

    8 May 2018

    Pointed Gourd Kuzhambu

             There are several varieties of stews in our country, closest relative in Tamil Nadu being Kuzhambu. Sambaar, Vettral Kuzhambu, Ara puli, Iru puli, they all come under this category. Basic concept being the simmering of Tamarind extract with spices and in some cases, lentils too and vegetables of choice.
    Today mum tried out this Aracha vitta kuzhambu, which literally translates to Stew with ground spices/paste. While it can be made with almost any vegetable - white pumpkin, capsicum, Okra and many more, she made it with Pointed gourd (Kovakkai / Kundru / Thondekkayi) Inspiration from Agrahara Recipes.
    ARACHA VITTA KOVAKKAI KUZHAMBU

    Ingredients:
    Pointed gourd / Kovakkai/Kundru - 1/2 cup, thin round slices
    Dry red chilies - 4, medium
    Bengal gram /Chana dal - 1 tsp
    Pigeon peas, Arahar dal - 1 tsp
    Fenugreek / Methi seeds - 1/2 tsp
    Tamarind - cherry sized piece
    Coconut oil - 1/2 tsp + 1 tsp
    Fresh Coconut, grated - 1/4 cup
    Salt to taste
    Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
    For Tempering:
    Coconut oil - 1 tsp
    Curry leaves
    Split black gram / Urad dal - 1 tsp
    Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
    Method:
    1. Pressure cook the kovakkai / pointed gourd using very little water.
    2. Heat 1/2 tsp coconut oil in a kadhai, roast red chilies and lentils till aroma is released.
    3. Now add the grated coconut and roast till golden brown. Finally add methi seeds and roast, taking care not to let it brown too much. Let cool and grind to a fine paste using little water.
    4. In a saucepan, add tamarind extract to the cooked kovakkai along with salt to taste & turmeric powder. Let simmer till the raw aroma leaves the tamarind. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.
    5. Now add a little water to the ground paste, mix well to remove lumps and add it to the simmering mix.
    6. Pour 1 tsp coconut oil over the simmering stew. Let simmer for 2 more minutes, then remove.
    7. For tempering, heat coconut oil, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and urad dal. Add to the stew.
    Serve hot with rice, rotis or Dosas.

    27 April 2018

    Food knows no Boundaries - Sindh Kitchen

     Some places don't find you, you have to discover them. A treasure tucked away on the 4th floor of Bloom Boutique hotel in Malleswaram, just a stone's throw away from the Metro station and Mantri Mall, The Sindh Kitchen is one such place that has everything going for it, from ambience, decor, and of course the food.
    We visited this place in a group, which is always good as we get to taste a little of everything. And we were an all-veg group. So yep, it was going to be interesting to see what the chef had to offer! And it was more than a pleasant surprise when the chef made us happy with so many dishes that we were actually spoilt for choice! Right from starters to the dessert, the meal was simply amazing. 
    What we were served:
    Starters:
    Paneer tikka salad, Dhaniya coated crisp paneer, Soya chaap, Subzi seekh pao, Nawabi tikki, Stuffed karela, Stuffed mushrooms, Palak Patta chaat, Dal pakwaan, Mini kachoris and samosas, Afghani papad

    Main course:
    Afghani pulao, Subz lazeez, Bugha chawal and sai bhaji, Paneer Peshawari, Sunehri kofta, Makhan palak, Kadhi chawal and aloo tuk, Dal bukhara

    Indian Breads:
    Mirchi ka paratha, Baluchistani naan, Kashmiri naan, Khameeri roti

    Desserts:
    China grass, Angoori rasmalai with gajar ka halwa, Praghree

    I must make a special mention here for the paneer varieties, and why not, because the paneer is sourced from Delhi, and you can tell that it's full fat milk! Palak Patta chaat was so delicate and crispy, fair warning, you may not want to share the platter.
    Apart from that I cannot really choose just a few favourites here as all the dishes were truly amazing, especially the bharwaan karela. The kind of spices, the aroma and flavour that I relished that day are what that I have missed much since my days in Delhi and found recreated in very few places.
    So Vegetarians and non-vegetarians, head to Sindh Kitchen Malleswaram to get pampered, if you havent already, the hot star North of town. 
    And now, for the pictures!